Learn, Connect at Our Seed Swap

Want to learn how to start seeds, build a worm bin or protect your apples from pests? That information and much more will be available from the Seed Lending Library and our community partners at the Great Seattle Seed Swap on Saturday, April 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Joining us at the Swap will be:

Also, a leader of the King County Seed Lending Library will hold a short workshop on seed starting techniques.

Sign up on our Facebook event page and we will see you at the Swap!

Join us at the Seed Swap!

Interesting lettuce? New tomato? Sunflowers for solidarity with Ukraine? Join the Seed Library for the return of our Great Seattle Seed Swap! It’s our first since 2019, and we can’t wait to share seeds with you.

The swap will be Saturday, April 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building.

Recent donations from the Organic Seed Alliance of their “Teddybear Sunflowers” and from High Mowing seeds will provide new choices for seed-swappers to try this year.
OSA’s Semi-Teddybear Mix. Photo by Bill Thorness.

See our Facebook event and let us know you’re coming!

Do you have seeds to share? Here’s a guide to our preferences for seed-sharing:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety. Heirlooms are by definition open-pollinated.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it the swap. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Label all seed donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.
  • Bring envelopes and a pen to store and label your new seeds.

Look forward to seeing you in person soon!

Winding Down a Quiet Year

Hi friends of the Seed Library! Our quiet gardening season is now at an end. The seeds have been retired to their winter home in a cool, dark back room.

It’s been a tough year to share seeds, with fewer open hours and no chances to get together. We hope that next year will see some return to normalcy. May the autumn bring you peace.

2021 Update: No Swaps, but Seeds Available

Hello gardeners and seed-swapping friends. We have a happy/sad message for our community.

The sad news is that we won’t be holding any seed swaps this year due to the coronavirus. That is probably not a surprise to most of you.

The happy news is that seeds are available in two of our locations, and more locations may reopen in the near future.

Borrow Seeds in NE, NW Seattle

Two KCSLL branches are resuming seed sharing in their respective locations. Both the NE Seattle branch and the NW Seattle branch are located in their community tool libraries, which are now reopened with limited hours.

— The NE Seattle branch is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-8 pm and Saturday 9 am-noon.

— The NW Seattle branch is open Saturdays 9 am-1 pm. 

— Both branches are limiting the number of simultaneous visitors and requiring coronavirus precautions such as wearing a mask and observing a 6-foot social distancing rule.

Due to limited display space, the NW Seattle branch is only offering seeds of crops that can be sown now. Seeds of warm-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash will be made available in early spring.

Donate Seeds

Seeds can also be donated at these two locations, but please observe these guidelines: pre-clean any homegrown seed, put it in a compact package, and label it with the crop, variety name, and year saved. Partial seed packets may be donated as well; please tape them shut.

Thanks to Territorial Seed Company for sending this lovely donation last fall. Look for their colorful packets of 2019 seed in our offerings this year.

Please continue to watch this blog and our Facebook page for updates on seed availability at other locations or expanded hours. Current location hours and a link to spreadsheets of available seeds at these two branches are available on our Locations page.

NE Seattle Branch to Take Virtual Orders

NOTE: This post is from 2020; seed orders are not being filled in this manner in 2021.

The Northeast Seattle branch of the seed library will now begin taking orders to be filled virtually. Recipients will pick up orders in the Ravenna neighborhood.

Visit the Seed Library page on the NE Seattle Tool Library’s website to learn more about this branch.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Browse the current NE Seattle branch seed inventory list
  • Take note of the crop and common name of each seed you would like.
  • Please limit your order to 10 items.
  • Send an email with your list and name to susanjoel@earthlink.net. Please write “Seed Order” in the email subject line.
  • We will package and label your seeds (small quantities only, regardless of our “KCSLL Supply” designation).
  • If we run out of an item, we might substitute another variety of the same crop.
  • We will respond with an email telling you where you can pick up your seeds.

Seed orders will be taken to our pickup location twice a week. Each order will be packaged with the recipient’s name on the bag. We suggest you take the same precautions when handling the package as you would at a grocery store. To be extra-safe, use gloves when taking the seed order home, then let it sit for 72 hours before opening it. We also ask that recipients practice proper social distancing if another recipient is at the pickup location.

Unfortunately, we are unable to take seed donations at this time. Please (safely) share with your neighbors and friends! Hopefully, we will be able to reopen our physical branches and resume regular activity later this spring.